EC has received more than 1700 complaints of violations in Chhattisgarh, where second phase of polling will be held on Tuesday
Till Monday night, the Election Commission said it had received more than 1700 complaints of poll code violation in Chhattisgarh, where 72 Assembly constituencies in 19 districts in the north and central region go to the polls on Tuesday.
A large number of these complaints are related to distribution of money, liquor and other consumer products, including winter wear. The Chief Electoral Officer said the cases would be brought to the public domain after investigation.
The biggest challenge for the EC, according to officers, is to control the distribution of money and liquor. It has taken several steps, including the setting up of a three-tier monitoring team, to curb cash and liquor movement.
The national parties, however, are allegedly using newer strategies to bypass the Commission’s guidelines. They are reportedly distributing currency notes with a specific serial number to voters, who can carry home a box of hard liquor by tendering the note in a scheduled wine shop. This, a police officer said, was impossible to stop.
Similarly, chits of paper with codes are distributed to pick up consumer durables, an election official said. A total of 4747 officials — 72 observers and 4675 micro observers — will be monitoring each candidate, an average of six officials for each of the 843 candidates in the fray, in addition to police and expenditure observers.
BJP cadre Hem Raj (name changed) of the Aheri village in Durg district said: “In our area, tonight huge cash will be distributed as the booty has already arrived.”
He explained the mid-level leaders of the party gave the money to cadres for distribution among voters. “I work in a politician’s land. He gave me some money to distribute,” Mr. Raj, who is a landless farmer, said.
Meanwhile, the poll monitoring team has seized thousands of boxes of sari, winter-wear and blankets from a rest house in Pendra, Bilaspur.
According to district officials, Congress cadres were fleeing from the guesthouse when the district monitoring team headed by the subdivisional magistrate reached the spot. Several cricket bats and kits, marked for the local clubs, were also seized.
Extensive security arrangements have been put in place, especially in areas adjacent to areas in south Chhattisgarh partially-controlled by the Maoists. However, in view of lower threat perception in this phase several companies of paramilitaries have departed for Madhya Pradesh for next week’s poll.
For Tuesday’s phase, 18,015 polling booths have been set up for nearly 1.5 crore voters who will exercise their franchise.
In “All set for Phase-II polling in Chhattisgarh today” (Nov. 19, 2013), the last sentence read: “For Tuesday’s phase, 18,015 polling booths have been set up for nearly 1.5 lakh voters who will exercise their franchise.” It should have been nearly 1.5 crore voters.